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From chocolates to primate “poop”, fans of Shabani the handsome gorilla have a lot to look forward to this Valentine’s Day.

In Japan, Valentine’s Day isn’t about couples exchanging flowers and gifts and enjoying romantic dinners; it’s about women showering everyone they know with chocolates and handmade confectionaries. This unique take on the western tradition has given birth to giri choco (“obligatory chocolates,” the non-romantic sweets given to friends, bosses, and colleagues; and honmei choco (chocolate given to boyfriends, lovers and husbands). Men who receive gifts return the favour a month later, on “White Day” on 14 March.

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Given the number of gifts women feel obliged to give to their platonic contacts on Valentine’s Day, the demand for giri-choco is huge in Japan. In Nagoya this year, confectioners struggling to stand out from the crowd will be hard pressed to beat a new line of sweets featuring one of the city’s most well-known heartthrobs: Shabani the handsome gorilla.

▼ Shabani made international headlines last year after women who saw him at Nagoya’s Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Garden fell in love with his handsome looks, causing a sharp increase in visitors.

Nagoya’s Parco department store will be holding a “Giri-choco Festival” from February 1 to 14, with a lineup of sweets that has Shabani taking centre stage. It’s perfect timing, given that 2016 is the Year of the Monkey in Japan.

▼ Customers can choose from a castella sponge cake featuring the handsome primate…

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▼ …and Gorilla no Unchi (“Gorilla Poop”), which are actually dried dates that look surprisingly like the real thing!

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▼ There will be six varieties of animal excrement available, including dried figs masquerading as lion poop.

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The humorous collection also includes specially marked bags of “Alphabet Chocolate” from popular local chocolate company Meito Sangyo. Shabani will appear on the packs, smouldering in two different poses alongside a special message box designed for personal Valentine’s Day messages.

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Visitors to the department store will also be able to view photos of Shabani and buy exclusive goods on the fourth floor of the East Building during the promotional period.

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Shabani is one handsome looking gorilla, and he’s certainly one of the most unique poster boys we’ve ever seen for a Valentine’s Day campaign in Japan! If you’d like to see more pictures of the good-looking primate, you can check out our other stories about him here and here.

Source: Nagoya Parco
Top Image: Nagoya Parco (edited by RocketNews24)
Insert Images: Wikimedia Commons/Diádoco, Nagoya Parco